Five United Nations (UN) Special Procedures have signed onto a joint communication to the Cuban government requesting information about the treatment and detention of Cuban Protestant pastor Reverend Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo. The pastor was tried on a range of charges in December 2021, but his sentencing, which was scheduled for 5 January 2022, has been repeatedly delayed.
The communication by the UN Special Procedures, dated 16 December 2021, gave the Cuban government 60 days to respond to their request, but no response was provided.
It states (translated from Spanish): “Without intending to prejudge the veracity of the information received, we wish to express our profound concern at the detention, subsequent short-term forced disappearance, mistreatment, and prosecution of Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo for his participation in peaceful protests. We regret in particular that he has been detained incommunicado, subjected to forced disappearance for three days, and that even today he has very limited contact with his relatives….”
The communication also raises concerns regarding alleged threats, torture and other mistreatment that the pastor has suffered at the hands of Cuban State Security. It calls on the Cuban government to provide information on why the pastor was arrested, the justification for the charges against him and why he was held in incommunicado detention. Information about the detention of the pastor’s son David, and the targeting of Reverend Rosales Fajardo’s s church, Iglesia Monte de Sion, was also sought.
Reverend Rosales Fajardo was arrested after participating in peaceful protests that took place across the island on 11 July 2021. He has been imprisoned in Boniato Maximum Security Prison since August 2021 and is facing charges which include ‘disrespect’, ‘assault’, ‘criminal incitement’ and ‘public disorder,’ for which the government has previously indicated that they are seeking to impose a 10-year prison sentence. He was tried on 20 and 21 December 2021 and informed that he would be sentenced on 5 January 2022, but this has been repeatedly delayed.
CSW’s Head of Advocacy Anna Lee Stangl said: “CSW welcomes this letter which draws vital attention to the case of Reverend Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo. We are disappointed, if not surprised, that the Cuban government has not responded to the letter. This failure to respond is another example of their total disregard for international norms and laws protecting fundamental human rights and their continued refusal to allow for any transparency in regard to the case, in or outside of Cuba. We continue to call for the pastor’s immediate and unconditional release and urge the international community to maintain intense scrutiny on his case and the wider situation of human rights in Cuba.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Click here to read the joint communication (in Spanish).
2. The communication was signed by Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; Luciano Hazan, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances; Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression; Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues; and Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.